“Suppose you do have a piece of land, where for a point of time at least you can say what happens there. What do you do with it?”–W.S. Merwin
In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, today we share “Witness: The Ecological Poetry of W.S. Merwin,” a documentary film by Larry Cameron and John Carpenter about the emergence of W.S. Merwin’s environmental consciousness. In this film made in 1997 at his home on Maui’s north shore, W.S. Merwin shares his insight into the inextricable connections between humans and the natural world, articulates his own “gardener’s approach” to restoring land back to wilderness, and reads selections of his poetry.
Photographer and filmmaker Larry Cameron was a dear friend of William and Paula Merwin for many years, and is now a friend and partner to The Merwin Conservancy. Many of the beautiful photographs you see on our website were made by him during his visits to Maui while he and William were making the book What is a Garden? We are grateful to Larry for this beautiful celebration of William and of the Earth, and for giving us permission to share this film with all of you.